Eiffel's Tower is essentially to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris what Devil in the White City is to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Meaning, iEiffel's Tower is essentially to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris what Devil in the White City is to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Meaning, it takes the reader through a history of the fair by shedding light on the stories of its most valuable players.
In Eiffel's Tower's case, those players are Gustave Eiffel, Buffalo Bill, and Thomas Edison.
I really enjoyed reading about how Eiffel came to design his tower, and the role it played as the centerpiece of the fair. It may not be known to all that the tower was initially panned, and generally unwanted. Jill Jonnes does a good job of creating the backdrop to the drama that would go on during the time leading up to the fair, and how it affected all those involved.
Two other major characters in this story are that of Buffalo Bill and Thomas Edison. Both of these men had large presences during the fair, and it was interesting to see how the lives and events of these two men intersected with Eiffel's, as well as the numerous other characters that Jonnes presents to the reader (Whistler, Gaugin, Annie Oakley, etc.).
The one thing that I didn't necessarily care for in this book were the numerous phrases presented in French, without translation. There tended to be 2 to 3 per chapter, and it was not always obvious how these words or phrases were meant to be translated into English.
The book contains numerous photographs and illustrations depicting the progress of the tower, advertisements for the fair and its events, as well as portraits of the aforementioned key people.
Like a lot of great things, I happened upon Bayou via a Boing Boing post, and wanted to just take a look at it, to see what it was about.
An hour and hLike a lot of great things, I happened upon Bayou via a Boing Boing post, and wanted to just take a look at it, to see what it was about.
An hour and half and 217 pages later, I snapped out of the trance I was in while reading this. I simply couldn't stop.
Bayou tells the tell of a Lee, a young black girl living in 1930s Mississippi, with her sharecropper father. Her friend, a young white girl named Lily, loses her necklace while her and Lee are playing down by the bayou, and tells her mom that it was Lee that stole it.
To make matters worse, shortly after that fiasco, Lily goes missing, and Lee's father gets (wrongly) blamed for it (pretty much the worst thing a black man could do in the rural south of the 30s).
What follows is a journey that Lee takes to seek justice for her father, but it's not simple by any means. There's a whole other world down around the Bayou that Lee becomes a part of, filled with characters like the gentle giant Bayou, a sick and twisted Reverend Bear, as well as good ol' Br'er Rabbit.
Aside from the haunting story, the illustrations are just wonderful. Each turn of the (virtual, in my case) page was one delight after another.
Be warned, this story ends abruptly, much to my dismay and almost anger; but then I realized: this is just the first volume....more